HELM: Chef Josh Boutwood at the Helm of Manila’s Best Degustation Experience!

Update 12/21/2018: As featured in 10 Best New Restaurants in Manila (2019 Homegrown Edition)! https://flic.kr/p/2c1F248 Chef Josh Boutwood’s Helm offers one of the best degustation experiences that’s certainly not to be missed in Manila. After the successful opening of Test Kitchen and Savage, Helm’s 10-seater theatre dining experience is his best one yet. It’s like Chef Josh’s culinary playground where he unleashes his creativity after managing Bistro Group’s culinary empire. At Helm, he is in charge, and it’s awesome to see the chef having fun and to have a taste of it with every plate.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpjBsk Ingredients. What I like about Chef Josh’s Culinary Philosophy is that he pays attention to the ingredients first, especially the local ones but not limited to these. All the ingredients used during the degustation are displayed and you can ask what’s the story behind each and every one of them. Technique. After the ingredients, he would think about the best culinary technique—from using sous vide, Excalibur dehydrator, liquid nitrogen or using the Big Green Egg to unleash the flavors and the best textures. Experience. With Helm’s live theatre dining experience, everyone has a front-row seat from which to watch the handsome chef create culinary magic and be hypnotized by his British accent. You don’t get full after the 14-course degustation because they don’t use carbs (except the bread), yet your mind, palate and heart are all satisfied.   https://flic.kr/p/PDcaVZ Take note, you have to buy a ticket to dine here with two seating options. The Degustation Menu concept changes every quarter. The blog feature below is a spoiler, so best not to read it. HELM by Chef Josh Boutwood G/F The Plaza, Arya Residences, Mckinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City (Just below Savage also in Arya Residences) Facebook: helmmnl Telephone: +63 906 234 1900 Websitehttps://www.joshboutwood.com.ph/ Buy your tickets P3,500 for 6.00pm or 8.30pm seating. Chef Josh Boutwood Related Blog Posts:  THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay) • Going SAVAGE! (Created by Chef Josh Boutwood)HELM: Chef Josh Boutwood at the Helm of Manila’s Best Degustation Experience! https://flic.kr/p/2djRjAd Every seat is good, but you might want to request for the end seats for a little more privacy.   https://flic.kr/p/2cikr3s The holiday menu starts from November and ends in January, featuring the monochromatic-inspired course, zigzagging from black to white.   Snacks https://flic.kr/p/2aCKGkm The snacks are not part of the official courses but a carryover from the original menu.   https://flic.kr/p/2c1EhLT Smoked Bangus savory tart with buckwheat ash shell topped with shavings of Malagos’ Queso Rustico and horseradish eaten in one bite.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpjxuk Les Fossiles Riesling 2016 by Domaine Mittnacht Freres (Alsace, France) – 3.7 Vivino rating Drinks are separate from the ticket price and you can request for a wine pairing for your degustation meal.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpjzMB Cured Local Pork Neck on top of Lavosh chips with caraway seeds (used in papadum). I should have asked for one more of this delectable chip.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpjE6r Broth of Blood Clam from Batangas with cilantro and fresh pandan oil. A nice way to clean and excite the palate. Wish there was a piece of clam in it.   https://flic.kr/p/2cikKc3 Brioche Bread topped with fennel seeds served with cultured butter with chives and slice of home-cured smoked chorizo. The bread was soft and fluffy, not buttery and not too heavy despite it being the only carbs in the degustation menu.   https://flic.kr/p/2cikTPJ It’s awesome to see Helm’s young Filipino culinary team at work—Mikee, Rocel, Enzo, Agnes, Cedrick and Leeroi.   Appetizers   https://flic.kr/p/2cikXnf black: mussel, ink, eggplant, black garlic

Best to eat the black mussels with bits of tapioca chips, burnt eggplant, burnt egg puree and black garlic.  

https://flic.kr/p/2aCKPYh purple: cabbage, duck liver, ube Duck liver parfait topped with fried preserved cabbage served with dehydrated and emulsified ube. (Like ube foie gras?)   Main Dish https://flic.kr/p/PDd3vB green: seabass, dill, pistachio Animo steamed sea bass on a bed of green pea puree, mussel juice with dill oil, topped with pistachio bits and shavings of dehydrated sea grapes (lato).   https://flic.kr/p/2djRCWb Etna Rosato 2014 by Tenuta delle Terre Nere (Etna, Italy) – 3.7 Vivino rating A nice crisp orange wine to pair with the lighter main courses.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpkbQx yellow: egg yolk, kasubha potato, chicken Poached free range egg yolk with Costales certified-organic chicken in a potato spuma flavored with kasubha (local saffron version used in goto) and topped with dehydrated quinoa bits.   https://flic.kr/p/RguGWu According to Chef Josh, he is an introvert, but you can ask him anything about Manila’s dining scene, and you’ll be surprised with his answers.   https://flic.kr/p/2aCL1DW orange: lapu lapu, sweet potato, roe Second fish course of Trout with shredded dehydrated tomato served with sweet potato, trout roe, marinated tomato and cosmo flower.   https://flic.kr/p/2aCLbDL Corriente 2015 by Telmo Rodriguez (Rioja, Spain) – 3.7 Vivino Rating You’ll never go wrong with a good red from Rioja to pair with the meats.   https://flic.kr/p/2aCLddC red: beetroot, beef heart, cabbage vinegar Braised beetroot with watermelon, hazelnut, vinegar on red cabbage, amaranth herb and a katsuobushi of secret meat.   https://flic.kr/p/RguQQA The secret meat is cured ox heart thinly sliced like bonito flakes with a katsuobushi shaver for added umami.   https://flic.kr/p/RgDtqJ brown: pork loin, mushroom, munggo, sampaloc Slices of Pork Loin on a bed of roasted glazed mung bean stew (monggo) with caramelized onion puree and pork jus. My least favorite color and flavor in the degustation. HELM by Josh Boutwood-60.jpg grey: ox tongue, tendons, ash Cubes of Lengua (Ox tongue) glazed in coco sap served with heart of palm charred and pureed, heirloom rice, mustard leaf ash and dehydrated tendons. This gets our vote for the best course of the night.   Desserts https://flic.kr/p/PDnUTT pink: dragon fruit, pomelo, strawberry Pomelo dumpling not made from mochi but from a gelatinous enclosure served with dragon fruit meringue, strawberry kuzu finished with dehydrated strawberry. Yum!   https://flic.kr/p/PDnWmn blue: blue berry, blue ternate, yoghurt Blueberry ternate, cheesecake and crumble with yogurt. Yes, Blue and White for the win. 🙂 https://flic.kr/p/2ciY1v7 To end, a signature treat of nitrogen dessert to cap the entire night.   https://flic.kr/p/PDPgpc white: coconut, pandan, macapuno Coconut pandan mousse with kaong, dehydrated macapuno and coco ice for texture. https://flic.kr/p/2aDmCR7 Ask for their freshly brewed Sagada single-origin coffee to pair with your dessert!   https://flic.kr/p/2aDmE1S Ending with mini-bites of ube creme puff, calamansi squares and mochi mango.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpWk3e They serve the British teapigs signature tea blends like Apple & Cinnamon.   https://flic.kr/p/2dpWnuD Thank you to Chef Josh and the Helm culinary team for an awesome degustation experience in Manila!   Final Thoughts https://flic.kr/p/2dpWoCv What I like about the experience is that it is not stiff and you actually enjoy every course because it is substantial in size but not as filling. It feels like watching a live Madrid Fusion presentation of a Scandinavian Chef with a British accent passionate about the best, including local, ingredients with toys in the background. The Bistro Group is so lucky to have Chef Josh as their executive chef and it’s just awesome to taste the food that he creates.   https://flic.kr/p/2djR4nY Final tip: Chef Josh sticks to timelines so the experience starts at exactly 6.00 pm, and if you are late, you’ll miss the first few courses. It’s like going to a movie theater where there is no rewind button. The 6.00 pm slot is good because you are sure you are out by 8.30 pm but the courses are a bit hurried. The 8.30 pm slot is the best to allow time for traffic, and it’s perfect if you really want to enjoy the night with Chef Josh. Remember, you have to buy the ticket, and they will serve even if there are only two persons during that slot.   HELM by Chef Josh Boutwood G/F The Plaza, Arya Residences, Mckinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City Facebook: helmmnl Telephone: +63 906 234 1900 Websitehttps://www.joshboutwood.com.ph/ Buy your tickets P3,500 for 6.00pm or 8.30pm seating. Chef Josh Boutwood Related Blog Posts:  THE TEST KITCHEN By Chef Josh Boutwood! @thebistrogroup (Photo Essay) • Going SAVAGE! (Created by Chef Josh Boutwood)HELM: Chef Josh Boutwood at the Helm of Manila’s Best Degustation Experience!   Live an Awesome Life, Anton Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com  Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Josh.  I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights. P.S. You can ask for a copy of the the menu for your souvenir. 🙂 https://flic.kr/p/Rh6pJU

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